(Minghui.org) Falun Dafa practitioners held a candlelight vigil in the central business district of Melbourne on the evening of April 25, 2023 to mark the 24th anniversary of April 25 Appeal. They lit candles and held wreathed portraits of practitioners in China who lost their lives in the brutal persecution by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
People Support Falun Dafa’s Principles
“Falun Dafa’s principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, I think, are very good, and they are very important to society. I absolutely agree with these values.” said Fred, a retired firefighter, adding that he too follows them in different ways.
“When I walked past the practitioners, I was moved by the peaceful energy. I immediately recalled the scenes of peaceful protests by practitioners at the Chinese Consulate in Canberra for many years.”
Fred continued, “I used to live in Canberra and saw practitioners petitioning in front of the Parliament Building. I think they did a good job. I support their demands.”
He said he admired practitioners’ response to the April 25 Appeal in Beijing and the persecution. “Falun Dafa practitioners have shown extraordinary courage,” he said, “because practitioners are helping people learn about the brutality [by globally protesting the persecution]. No matter how people express their support, the goal is the same – to achieve peace for all and stop the wrong.”
It was a public holiday in Australia – Anzac Day, and there were many veterans and families participating in the celebration on the downtown commercial street. Mitch, a pilot from a military family, was among them. He said that his father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all heroes who defended the country and that he was very proud of them. After the candlelight vigil, he waved to practitioners and said, “I think Falun Dafa’s resisting the persecution is very courageous. I support everything they do. Amazing people, keep going!”
Physician Admires Practitioners’ Peaceful Protest
Dermatologist Laura moved to Melbourne five years ago. When she noticed the candlelight vigil she said that the solemnity, tranquility and peace impressed her.
“I think they are very peaceful,” she said. “I have been working and living in Melbourne for five years, and I still remember the first time I saw them [Falun Dafa practitioners] sitting quietly. You can feel the peace.
“But it’s frightening that such a quiet and peaceful group has been banned [by the CCP] for trying to be kind to people. It’s very sad that practitioners are being persecuted like this, especially in China today in 2023.”
As a physician, Laura was shocked by the CCP’s crime of organ harvesting. “I’ve heard of organ harvesting. It’s a terrible problem. I know that such crimes are happening,” she said. “It should definitely be stopped. It is the thing that should be stopped immediately.”
She said that Australians traveling to China for organ transplants may inadvertently make Australia part of the crime, because of the medical resources to support follow-up treatment, many of which are paid for by Australian taxpayers. “It’s definitely a very serious issue for Australia.”
She said, “I feel very sad. I really can’t imagine what the persecuted practitioners are going through, because this is a topic that is rarely mentioned in Australia. I hope the situation will improve and the evil will be stopped as soon as possible.”
Laura admired practitioners’ efforts and perseverance in protesting the persecution.
“As practitioners make the public aware of what happened, more people will spread the word. People will become more aware, and ultimately a joint effort can help end the evil,” she said.
She added, “There are too many negative things happening in the world today, and people use too much violence to fight against them. But seeing Falun Dafa practitioners deal with and solve violent crimes in such a peaceful way, I think that is really powerful.”
Background: What Is the April 25 Appeal?
Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) was first introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in Changchun, China, in 1992. The spiritual discipline is now practiced in over 100 countries worldwide.
Millions of people have embraced the teachings—which are based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance as well as five gentle exercises—and experienced improved health and well-being.
On April 23 & 24, 1999, police officials in Tianjin, a city near Beijing, assaulted and arrested dozens of practitioners who had gathered outside a magazine office to discuss errors in a recently-published article attacking Falun Dafa. As word spread of the arrests and more practitioners inquired with officials, they were told they had to take their appeal to Beijing.
The following day, April 25, some 10,000 Falun Dafa practitioners spontaneously gathered at the Central Appeals office in Beijing, as they had been instructed by Tianjin officials. The gathering was peaceful and orderly. Several Falun Dafa representatives were called in to meet with Chinese Premier, Zhu Rongji, and members of his staff. That evening, practitioners’ concerns were answered. The arrested practitioners in Tianjin were released and everyone went home.
Jiang Zemin, former head of the CCP, perceived the spiritual discipline’s growing popularity as a threat to the CCP’s atheistic ideology and issued an order to ban Falun Dafa on July 20, 1999.
Minghui.org has confirmed the deaths of thousands of practitioners due to the persecution over the years, but because of the difficulty in getting information out of China, the actual number is suspected to be much higher. Many more have been imprisoned and tortured for their faith.
There is concrete evidence that the CCP sanctions the harvesting of organs from detained practitioners, who are murdered to supply the organ transplant industry.
Chinese version available
Melbourne: Practitioners Commemorate April 25 Peaceful Protest With Wall of Banners